September 30, 2022
MANILA — Consumers should brace for an increase of as much as 20 percent in the retail prices of rice and vegetables after Super Typhoon “Karding” (international name: Noru) wreaked havoc on the country’s farm sector, the Department of Agriculture (DA) said on Thursday.
Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban said they were expecting a spike of 15 to 20 percent in prices of food items because the rice-producing region of Central Luzon suffered the brunt of the typhoon.
Karding has wiped out P2.02 billion worth of agricultural produce, with the rice sector accounting for nearly 82 percent or P1.66 billion of the recorded damage in the farm sector, based on the DA’s tally as of Thursday.
“Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Pampanga, Bulacan and Quezon are among the affected provinces, with more than 20 percent of the total area planted destroyed,” Panganiban said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
The rice sector was followed by high-value crops, which suffered P271.6 million in losses; corn, P44.6 million; fisheries, P43 million; and livestock and poultry, P7.9 million.
The DA’s latest monitoring showed that the typhoon also ravaged farming, livestock and fishing areas in the Cordillera, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Bicol and Western Visayas regions.
Damage to the agriculture sector in the Bicol region was placed at about P53 million worth of livestock, fisheries, rice, corn and high-value vegetables in Camarines Sur and Camarines Norte. The typhoon affected 2,853 farmers and fisherfolk and destroyed 3,828.19 hectares of farmland.
The P2.02 billion worth of damage caused by Karding was nearly double the P1.13 billion in losses due to Severe Tropical Storm “Florita” (Ma-on) that hit in August, but only a fraction of the P13.3 billion in agricultural destruction during the onslaught of Typhoon “Odette” (Rai) in December 2021.
Karding took its toll on the livelihood of some 91,944 farmers and fishers in the affected regions. The volume of production loss was estimated at 117,663 metric tons (MT) involving 150,693 ha of land.
Panganiban assured the farmers and fishermen of government help to enable them to recover from their losses.
“We will give about 70 million rice seeds, P83.16 million worth of corn seeds, and P13.5 million worth of assorted vegetable seeds,” he said.
The DA, he said, would also give about P2.45 million worth of animal head and medicines for the livestock and poultry sector.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, for its part, would give away fingerlings and fishing paraphernalia to aid small fishers affected by Karding.
According to Panganiban, the agency would also provide equipment to affected fishermen, including financial assistance of up to P25,000, payable in three years at zero interest, under the Survival Recovery Loan Program of the Agriculture Credit and Policy Council.
A P500-million Quick Response Fund would likewise be allocated as aid to affected areas, he said.
Despite the damage caused by the typhoon on palay farms in Central Luzon, the agriculture official assured the public that there would be enough supply of rice for the coming holiday season.
Local rice production for 2022 was estimated at 19.5 million MT, or lower than the 19.96 million MT recorded in 2021, as farm yields were affected by skyrocketing prices of farm inputs such as fuel and fertilizer, the DA’s National Rice Program reported.
The DA’s 2022 rice supply-and-demand outlook as of Sept. 15 placed the total annual supply at 17.36 million MT and the total annual consumption at 15.14 million MT. It said there would be an ending stock of 2.23 million MT, or a reserve level good for 60 days.
The Philippines has imported 2.9 million MT of rice as of Sept. 22 this year, latest figures from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) showed. Bought mostly from Vietnam, the imported rice covered the shortfall in local production.
“While all of the remaining issued import clearances by the [BPI] will only be valid until the third quarter and imports are yet to be estimated on the last quarter of this year, based on historical trend, import arrivals start to decline by the fourth quarter in time for the peak harvest from October to November,” the DA said in a statement.
The DA has reported no significant movements in retail prices of commercial rice in Metro Manila between June and September this year.
The prevailing retail price for imported well-milled rice as of Thursday stood at P39.50 a kilo, lower than the P44 a year prior, according to the DA’s price monitoring.
Regular milled imported rice was being sold for P38 a kg, but no comparative data from last year was available on the DA website.
Locally produced well-milled rice retailed for P40 a kg as against P44 last year, while regular milled rice remained at P38 a kg.